Essential Alone Time | INTJ
As I get older, I realize even more how essential alone time is to my well-being, status of sanity and productivity. I believe I realize this more now because it doesn’t come as easily as it used to, and I feel that my need for alone time is even more compulsory than other introverts. So compulsory, in fact, that I find that I have developed some rather odd habits to make it possible.
When I was young (you know, still living with my parents), I spent 99% of my time in my bedroom. I liked to be alone, and I spent countless hours reading, drawing, playing the bass and making mix tapes. In high school, I found a dark quiet bench that I lived on, in the event my couch in the library wasn’t available. Living alone was a dream for me, because I could specifically choose when I had social interactions. Living with a roommate in college was quite the nightmare, and living with needy ex-boyfriends was even worse.
My car is an essential piece to my escape plan. I nearly refuse to go anywhere without it, and when I travel, I have to have a rental, whenever possible. The “car habit” started very young, as my parents frequently toted me around for all of my much younger sibling’s activities. Sitting around in any area that was filled with quickly moving kids, and their voices was such a nightmare, that I finally talked my parents into letting me sit in the car. All I needed was my walkman ( <← dating myself), a pile of books and I was content for eternity.
As an adult, I have a lot of trouble with public transportation. Not for the actual “transportation” part, but the thought of being trapped somewhere, without the escape of my vehicle, throws me into fits of anxiety. I have worked in offices in which public transportation would have saved me a lot of cash; I even worked for Google, which provided stellar wifi-enabled luxury transportation at no cost, and I still couldn’t take it. I tried several times, however when I did this, I had no place to go for my extended 15 minute breaks, vehicular power naps and my lunch hour, thus plummeting me into an indescribable spiral of exhaustion.
When I go out to see friend’s bands, it is not unlike me to disappear into my car for extended “breaks”. I barely drink when I go out, because I need my car on some crazy psychological level. Luckily when I gig myself, I need my car to haul my equipment, but I will give you one solid educated guess as to where I will be in between sound check and stage time. I have gotten so frigging weird with my vehicle, that I would even sit in it at home, when I was living with those needy ex-boyfriends I mentioned earlier. For hours. How does one explain that?
What does I do when I lack vehicular escape? I personally find that playing musical rooms is quite effective, albeit rude. People invading the living room? I retreat to the bedroom. People all over the house? They probably think I am fighting a gigantic bowel movement in the bathroom, yet in reality, I am sitting on the floor reading something on my phone. When I return, I get the, “are you ok?”. Of course I am not ok, as there are people in my presence.
I am not as bad as that, but it is required from time-to-time.
Sleep is the result of extended social interaction. I know that any day following a major social event, I will be wasting a considerable amount of the next day sleeping. I hate it, and feel that it is a ridiculous waste of time, however my energy gets drained to such extreme lows, that it happens whether I want it or not. The result of sleep is the number one reason I utilize the vehicular escape and musical room methods. I simply want to prevent a wasted afternoon, evening or next day in uncontrollable slumber. I can say, however, that the sleep that follows these events is some of the deepest sleep I ever get.
I am so lucky to have it now, and have worked so hard to achieve the space nirvana that I have now. I have put in the time with my education and career to be at a place where I can work from home. Of course, all of this makes me sound like some super social-phobe freak who can’t stand being around people, which is not true. I enjoy the occasional social interaction and being around select people, I just really have to pay attention to it and moderate my exposure. It is just one of the many joys of being an introvert, even on the more extreme side of that scale.
Originally published at intjness